Share with us @tryverima or comment below your best summer safety tips!
With the last couple days and weeks of school coming to an end (Congratulations Mamas, we made it!!), summer plans are looking to remain on target thanks to mass vaccination and lowered transmission rates. But many of us are going through our awkward re-introduction to society phase, and with it comes remembering some summer safety tips that perhaps just were not on our radar last summer. While this is not a comprehensive list by far, I am simply highlighting a few that are at the forefront of my mind whether it be due to my local news or the age of my children.
Beaches, Riptides and Sneaker Waves
I live in Northern California where the Bay Area is notorious for its unpredictable waves. Over the pandemic, I took my family out to hike and explore several beaches including Big Sur, Half-Moon Bay and Santa Cruz. What I didn’t realize is that this past year alone, there have been 12 fatalities in the Bay Area from unsuspecting people getting swept up in a wave. Just a few months ago, my moms group was seeking drones equipped with cameras as a family desperately searched for their 12 year old son who was swept to sea. And it’s not just CA. With Hawaii once again teeming with tourists who may be lulled into a false sense of security by the crystal blue waters, always respect the ocean and the tremendous power it wields. Some things to keep in mind:
- NEVER turn your back on the ocean. This is important to teach our children as well. I know, it’s hard and little children will inevitably break this rule which is why:
- Have small children wear life jackets even when just playing in the sand. This article discusses US Coastguard-approved jackets and if you’re not a strong swimmer, you may want to consider one for yourself.
- Watch this video on how to spot riptides, and familiarize yourself and your family with what to do if caught in one.
- While we might imagine lazy days at the beach burying our heads in a juicy novel, make sure you clearly communicate with other adults exactly who is watching the children.
I recently came across this article on lifehacker.com which tested out the visibility of different color swimsuits in pools and lakes. As a mom, my top criteria for swimsuits was sun-protection, utility and comfort. Admittedly after that I considered aesthetics and it didn’t occur to me that the color of the swimsuits could effect safety. Certain colors (light blue and white) all but disappear under water, while neon pink and neon/bright orange remain the most visible. The articles makes note that, “Trained lifeguards will obviously be looking out for much more than swimsuits in varying colors and shades, but particularly for the untrained eye, a brighter colored suit may help you more quickly spot a child who has fallen into the water or notice they’ve been under longer than they should be. “
Just a moment while I go order brand new swimsuits for the fam. . . .
Teens and Driving
Without exaggeration, my newly minted 14 year old just last year hit the 4’9” height recommendation that got him out of a booster seat. So when my youngest child pointed out that next year his big brother could begin to learn how to drive, I was startled to say the least. AAA examined the data from 2008-2018 and not surprisingly, the summer months of June, July and August tend to have the highest levels of teen driving accidents. The most common cause of accidents include speeding, drinking and distractions (phones, friends, etc.) so it is important that we not only reiterate these points with our teens, but model them as well! My children have called me out when I *may* have been driving a bit too fast, or glanced a text message coming through. It is important for them to realize that the “glimpse” could make all the difference in the world, so I promise to do better myself, for the sake of my children.
That said, while telling kids NOT to do something is important, it is equally important to have a plan B to safely get out of a situation when they DO it regardless. Some families I know use codewords to help kids get out of uncomfortable situations. A child can text, “x” to a parent and the parent will take that cue to either call or text telling the child that s/he needs to come home asap thus giving him/her an excuse to leave an uncomfortable environment. Also, if your child has been drinking, hopefully they know that they can text/call you or another trusted adult for a ride at anytime. It’s definitely worth it to have that open conversation with some trusted adults in your child’s life so we known they will always have a safe place to turn.
Image from Naviaux Labs UCSD
Ticks and Lyme Disease
This one may seem random, but the universe is telling me to include it. As many of you know, my son has PANS/PANDAS and his is triggered by the strep bacteria. But a great many PANS children are triggered by Lyme disease and recently a friend’s child was diagnosed with Lyme after months on fatigue, brain fog, joint pain and anxiety. That night, I watched Netflix’s documentary on Amy Tan and her struggle with Lyme, only to learn that other celebrities such as Amy Schumer, Just Bieber, Alec Baldwin and Bella Hadid have all spoken openly about their Lyme diagnosis. And just to nail the point home, the very next morning, as I sat to write this blog, I found a TICK crawling up my bedroom wall right in front of my desk! So consider this my PSA: CHECK YOUR ENTIRE FAMILY (furry four-legged ones too!) HEAD TO TOE for ticks after spending a day outside in grass or in the woods. I know my family has definitely spent more days hiking through the pandemic, so do not forget this crucial step at the end of the day. This comprehensive guide is an important read especially considering that according to the CDC, 476,000 Americans are diagnosed and/or treated for Lyme each year. While this number may be higher than the actual number of infections each year (as many are treated prophylactically to avoid Lyme infection) it is still a large number that warrants caution on our part as parents. And to my California peeps. . . yes, unfortunately Lyme is on the rise even here in CA, so for peace of mind, just do a quick check.
As I mentioned earlier, this is by far a comprehensive list. Just some things that have come up on my radar recently. And while by no means is this meant to strike fear in anyone, I hope it just puts things on your radar so you and your family can enjoy a safe and happy summer!
Share with us @tryverima or comment below your most trusted summer safety tip!